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Researching Federal American Indian and Tribal Law: Legal Periodicals

Land Acknowledgement Statement--University of Illinois System

The University of Illinois System – with its universities in Urbana-Champaign, Chicago, and Springfield – rests on the land of multiple native nations. These lands were the traditional birthright of indigenous peoples who were forcibly removed and who have faced two centuries of struggle for survival and identity in the wake of dispossession. We hereby acknowledge the ground on which we stand so that all who come here know that we recognize our responsibilities to the peoples of that land and that we strive to address that history so that it guides our work in the present and the future.

For more information on the University of Illinois System's land acknowledgment statement, see

Indigenous Law Journals

There are a number of journals that focus on Federal Indian Law and its various subtopics. Many of these publications are available in full text in HeinOnline. Examples of open-access journals on this topic are the following:

American Indian Law Review (University of Oklahoma College of Law).

American Indian Law Journal (Seattle University School of Law).

Tribal Law Journal (University of New Mexico School of Law)

Law Journal Databases: Westlaw and Lexis

Both Westlaw and Lexis offer access to law journal databases. In Westlaw, you can limit your searches to secondary sources that focus on Federal Indian Law. Choose "Native American Law" from the list of "Practice Areas," then go to "Secondary Sources."  In Lexis, you can choose "Native American Law" under "Practice Area," and then "Secondary Materials."

Legal Periodicals

It is often a good idea to start your search in the Index to Legal Periodicals (ILP).  All articles in ILP are assigned subject classifications, which can be extremely useful in finding articles on your topic.  Unlike in Lexis or Westlaw where a search is combing through the full texts of articles, you can use these subject classifications for a more exact search.  This means that you can find articles that contain in-depth discussions of your topic instead of just referencing your keywords in a footnote. Using the subject classifications is also beneficial given the prevalence of creative and pun-filled titles in journal articles.

It is easiest to start with a broad search and later refine your search depending on how many results you get. On the results page, you will see a number of recommended subject headings. Clicking on these subject headings will show you all of the articles on that topic.  Another tip for locating articles is to take one good article that you have already found and see what subject headings have been assigned to it.

ILP has the text of some articles, but not every article that is indexed.  It is an index that is primarily designed as a finding tool to help you find citations to relevant articles. You may need to take the citation that you find in ILP and pull up the text of the article in a full-text database.

Note that  the ILP has two separate databases: 1) Retrospective, 1908–1981, which provides citations to articles from over 750 law journals, legal newspapers, and bar association journals, covering the years 1908 through 1981. Full text is not included, but once you have ascertained the citations for articles relevant to your research, you can search for the full text in another database, such as HeinOnline's Law Journal Library, or in print; and 2) Full text, which is a searchable index to more than 1,000 legal periodicals. Full text is available for many journals going back to 1994.

Full-Text Databases

If you have a citation and are looking for the text of the article, HeinOnline contains almost all law journals going back to their first issue and provides access to the articles in pdf format.  Lexis and Westlaw provide coverage of law journals dating back to the 1980s. 

In addition to searching in ILP, you should search for articles in full-text databases such as LexisWestlawHeinOnline, and Google Scholar. Using the same keywords you used in ILP may turn up different articles in a full-text search that can lead you to new resources.

Google Scholar

Google Scholar provides a search mechanism to locate scholarly literature across multiple disciplines, including law.  Search results on campus will indicate whether the source is available full text through a Loyola database.  Off campus, users may go to the "Settings" link and then "Library Links" to set up results that show links to LUC full-text databases. 

Google Scholar Search

SSRN (Social Sciences Research Network)

SSRN is an electronic repository for international social sciences scholarship that includes the Legal Scholarship Network (LSN).  Thousands of downloadable abstracts, working papers, and published papers are available without charge.  Set up a free account in order to access all content.